VAUGHT: Boone's chances improved for NFL this year

Aaron Boone went to Germany hoping to enhance his chances for making the Carolina Panthers with impressive special teams play during the NFL Europe season. He recently returned from Germany as the league's leading special teams tackler (14 solo stops, one assist), but also has one of the league's best receivers.

Now Boone can't help believing this is his year to finally earn a National Football League roster spot after preseason injuries the last two years derailed his chances for making the Dallas Cowboys or Chicago Bears.

"It was a lot different when I came back to Charlotte than it was at Chicago last year," said Boone, the former UK wide receiver. "At Charlotte, players and coaches were congratulating me on the season I had. They knew who I was. It wasn't that way in Chicago."

Boone's name became more well known after his impressive season with the Berlin Thunder. He led the league with 51 receptions. His 665 receiving yards ranked second in the league.

"We fell one game short of my goal of winning the World Bowl, but I loved this season," Boone said. "The Carolina coaches told me I needed to do well on special teams to have a chance to make the roster. I did that.

"They have veteran receivers already on the roster, but if I can be a third down receiver and good special teams player, they can keep me a lot cheaper than an older, more experienced player. I feel comfortable if I just get the chance, I can put up good numbers.

"Obviously, my stats look good on my resume. But the big thing is that Carolina, as well as a lot of other teams, watch those games and have film of those games. They saw what I can do and what type of player I can develop into if given the chance. I am just hoping this will be my year."

So I am. No one deserves it more. He's truly one of the good guys in football. It's impossible not to like him and he'll never let success spoil him. While it is a big no-no in my profession to openly root for a player, this is an exception because I'll proudly admit I'm an Aaron Boone fan and always will be.

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